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1.  Testosterone Increases Circulating Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels in the Male Rhesus Macaque 
The adrenal steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEAS) are two of the most abundant hormones in the human circulation. Furthermore, they are released in a circadian pattern and show a marked age-associated decline. Adult levels of DHEA and DHEAS are significantly higher in males than in females, but the reason for this sexual dimorphism is unclear. In the present study, we administered supplementary androgens [DHEA, testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT)] to aged male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). While this paradigm increased circulating DHEAS immediately after DHEA administration, an increase was also observed following either testosterone or DHT administration, resulting in hormonal profiles resembling levels observed in young males in terms of both amplitude and circadian pattern. This stimulatory effect was limited to DHEAS, as an increase in circulating cortisol was not observed. Taken together, these data demonstrate an influence of the hypothalamo-pituitary–testicular axis on adrenal function in males, possibly by sensitizing the zona reticularis to the stimulating action of adrenocorticopic hormone. This represents a plausible mechanism to explain sex differences in circulating DHEA and DHEAS levels, and may have important implications in the development of hormone therapies designed for elderly men and women.
doi:10.3389/fendo.2014.00101
PMCID: PMC4070064
adrenal gland; aging; androgen; dehydroepiandrosterone; non-human primate; testosterone
2.  Age-related changes in neuroendocrine rhythmic function in the rhesus macaque 
Age  2011;34(5):1111-1121.
Many environmental conditions show rhythmic changes across the 24-h day; these include changes in light intensity, ambient temperature, food availability, and presence or absence of predators. Consequently, many organisms have developed corresponding adaptations, which ensure that specific physiological and behavioral events occur at an appropriate time of the day. In mammals, the underlying mechanism responsible for synchronizing internal biochemical processes with circadian environmental cues has been well studied and is thought to comprise three major components: (1) photoreception by the retina and transmission of neural signals along the retinohypothalamic tract, (2) integration of photoperiodic information with an internal reference circadian pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and (3) dissemination of circadian information to target organs, via the autonomic nervous system and through humoral pathways. Given the importance that neuroendocrine rhythms play in coordinating normal circadian physiology and behavior, it is plausible that their perturbation during aging contributes to the etiology of age-related pathologies. This mini-review highlights some of the most dramatic rhythmic neuroendocrine changes that occur in primates during aging, focusing primarily on data from the male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In addition to the age-associated attenuation of hormone levels and reduction of humoral circadian signaling, there are also significant age-related changes in intracrine processing enzymes and hormone receptors which may further affect the functional efficacy of these hormones. Rhesus macaques, like humans, are large diurnal primates and show many of the same physiological and behavioral circadian changes during aging. Consequently, they represent an ideal translational animal model in which to study the causes and consequences of age-associated internal circadian disruption and in which to evaluate novel therapies.
doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9352-z
PMCID: PMC3448984  PMID: 22198672
Adrenal gland; Circadian rhythms; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
3.  Perimenopausal regulation of steroidogenesis in the nonhuman primate 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(7):1487.e1-1487.e13.
Human aging is characterized by a marked decrease in circulating levels of dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), hormonal changes associated with cognitive decline. Despite beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation in rodents, studies in elderly humans have generally failed to show cognitive improvement after treatment. In the present study we evaluate the effects of age and estradiol supplementation on expression of genes involved in the de novo synthesis of DHEA and its conversion to estradiol in the rhesus macaque hippocampus. Using RT-PCR we demonstrate the expression of genes associated with this synthesis in several areas of the rhesus brain. Furthermore, real-time PCR reveals an age-related attenuation of hippocampal expression level of the genes CYP17A1, STS, and 3BHSD1/2. Additionally, short-term administration of estradiol is associated with decreased expression of CYP17A1, STS, SULT2B1, and AROMATASE, consistent with a downregulation not only of estrogen synthesis from circulating DHEA, but also of de novo DHEA synthesis within the hippocampus. These findings suggest a decline in neurosteroidogenesis may account for the inefficacy of DHEA supplementation in elderly humans, and that central steroidogenesis may be a function of circulating hormones and menopausal status.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.05.004
PMCID: PMC3196783  PMID: 21683476
Aging; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Hormone replacement; Menopause; Neurosteroidogenesis
4.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9113-4
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
5.  Dehydroepiandrosterone and age-related cognitive decline 
Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands)  2009;32(1):61-67.
In humans the circulating concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and DHEA sulfate (DHEAS) decrease markedly during aging, and have been implicated in age-associated cognitive decline. This has led to the hypothesis that DHEA supplementation during aging may improve memory. In rodents, a cognitive anti-aging effect of DHEA and DHEAS has been observed but it is unclear whether this effect is mediated indirectly through conversion of these steroids to estradiol. Moreover, despite the demonstration of correlations between endogenous DHEA concentrations and cognitive ability in certain human patient populations, such correlations have yet to be convincingly demonstrated during normal human aging. This review highlights important differences between rodents and primates in terms of their circulating DHEA and DHEAS concentrations, and suggests that age-related changes within the human DHEA metabolic pathway may contribute to the relative inefficacy of DHEA replacement therapies in humans. The review also highlights the value of using nonhuman primates as a pragmatic animal model for testing the therapeutic potential of DHEA for age-associate cognitive decline in humans.
doi:10.1007/s11357-009-9113-4
PMCID: PMC2829637  PMID: 19711196
Dehydroepiandrosterone; Cognitive decline; Intracrinology; Neurosteroidogenesis
6.  Sexually dimorphic enhancement by estradiol of male urinary odor detection thresholds in mice 
Behavioral neuroscience  2008;122(4):788-793.
We asked whether sex and adult estrogen exposure influence the detection thresholds for urinary odors used by mice to guide their social behaviors. Gonadectomized (GDX) male and female mice were trained on a two-choice food-motivated task to determine detection thresholds for male urinary odors. There was no significant sex difference in the detection of these odors by GDX subjects without hormone replacement. However, during treatment with estradiol benzoate (EB), GDX females, but not GDX males, showed an enhanced ability to detect these odors. To investigate a possible mechanism for this effect, we measured GDX females’ odor-sampling behavior (sniffing) by monitoring intranasal pressure transients during performance of the urinary odor detection task with and without EB treatment. Under both hormone conditions females decreased their sniffing frequency as the urinary odor concentration decreased, with this decrease being significantly greater while GDX females received EB. Thus, estradiol enhanced detection thresholds for male urine in a sex-specific manner, and this enhanced sensitivity in females was correlated with altered odor-sampling behavior.
doi:10.1037/0735-7044.122.4.788
PMCID: PMC2866425  PMID: 18729632
olfaction; sex hormones; odor detection; sex differences; sniffing

Results 1-6 (6)